Category - Business Planning

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Does My Small Business Need a Marketing Plan?
Decluttering Your Business
How to Prepare a USEFUL Strategic Plan
When is “Admin” really Admin?
Recession proof your business

Does My Small Business Need a Marketing Plan?

When I talk to small and micro-business owners, I always ask them if they have a marketing plan. Their answer is invariably “no”.

So the next question, in exploration of that, is usually from them: “Why do I need a marketing plan? What I need to do is in my head, and besides, I’m stretched enough as it is running the business”.

I have to point out to them that’s really three questions and I deal with them one at a time. The first question is, as a small business, do I really need a marketing plan?

Of course you do. It need not be a large document, and in a small business you may not need to detail every item in a traditional marketing plan, but you do need a marketing plan, it should be written, and it should deal with the key concepts of marketing.

You need a marketing plan because running a for-profit business without a marketing plan is simply opening your doors and hoping for the best. Finding customers, increasing sales, meeting break-even and growing profits cannot be done while simply hoping for the best. Even if you had, in your head, a sure-fire way to find new customers, or sell more to existing customers, writing it down and sharing it with your team is the best way to relieve the lonely stress of doing it by yourself – they can help achieve those sales targets with you if they know what your sure-fire procedure was.

If you were taking your family on holiday, would you simply buy tickets to where you were going and just arrive? No, you would have some sort of plan that you share with them and some key bookings. So why would you not have a plan when your business’ performance and its livelihood is at stake? Without a marketing plan, you do not know who are your optimum market, the best way of getting to them and appealing to them, the resources you will need to service them, and what you need them to buy and when. Read More

Decluttering Your Business

Every now and then, it’s time to declutter!

Whether it’s your home, your office, or your life, over the years you build up “stuff”. When you buy that cute vase or an extra office chair or you accumulate responsibilities, it all builds up. Personally I find it refreshing to just get rid of stuff from time to time.

It clears your mind, there’s less visual and intellectual junk to manoeuvre around, and you can see fresh and new ways to move on and ahead.
Well, decluttering works in your business as well.

Think for a moment, and I’ll bet you will recognise the clutter that has built up around you without your knowing it. Management guru Peter Drucker said “much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work”. This is so true. Management demands better (or is it more?) communication so our email inbox is bulging, we are in touch 24/7 on smart phones and tablets. Management is careful to avoid inefficiency, so everything is check-listed, and has to be signed off step by step adding layers to “efficiency”. Management is all about planning so half our day is filled with meetings. Management is all about achieving goals so we end up with endless objectives and to-do lists to tick off.

Some of this clutter in our business lives is actually a necessity. Read More

How to Prepare a USEFUL Strategic Plan

Does this sound familiar?:-

It is about 5 years since your company did its last strategic plan, and you, or your Board have been reminded that it is good governance to renew it. You can’t actually see a reason to do it in practical terms – the economy has been what it is and the business has been doing what it can. After all, was your last prediction of the future any good?

Nevertheless you decide to do it. You hire a facilitator and ask for a quote. When the facilitator (if they are worth the money) asks for preparation time that may include research into your industry and company, along with interviews with stakeholders, and prices her quote accordingly. You receive the quote and negotiate it downwards, removing these “extraneous” tasks and leaving the task of facilitating a day’s workshop and writing it up.

You organise a day’s retreat for the Board and senior staff. You hold the meeting, everyone has a good time away from the office, you all contribute to discussion and feel satisfied that you have thrashed the issues. The facilitator writes up the plan, you review it and “implement” it.

In a few months, the exercise is forgotten.

Read More

When is “Admin” really Admin?

There was a survey done recently where 61% of those surveyed said that if “admin” was halved, they would use the time saved to focus on their “core job”.

I’m sure you’ll agree from the gut, with or without survey, that “admin” is unpleasant, unproductive, and not very satisfying and if possible you would halve it.

However, I think an important point is how you actually define “admin”. Unsatisfying does not always mean unproductive.

Note that those surveyed agreed they would better spend their time in their “core job”. However what does their “core job” entail? For example if you spent a great deal of your time filing correspondance that will hardly ever get pulled out again, I’d suggest that is true “admin” and is probably not your “core job” unless you are a filing clerk. However what if say, your sales job is all about filling the sales funnel, assisting the whole sales team to sell better, and ensuring customer satisfaction. In such a job, is completing CRM details part of your core job or just “admin”? Without accurate information about the customer in the CRM system you and the rest of the sales team may not be able to sell effectively – that sounds like part of your core job to me.
Read More

Recession proof your business

Is it possible to recession-proof your business? Probably not, despite the wealth of internet articles on how to do so (about 3.3 million hits on Google and counting).

However, what is possible is to arm your business with a series of simple and common sense business strategies to protect it against tough times.

There are defensive and offensive strategies. As profit performance heads south, it is difficult not to panic and begin to tighten all the hatches. However you can tighten too much. Hence, while it is natural to concentrate on the defensive strategies, it is important to keep in mind offensive strategies – those that your business should implement to ensure that you are the one in your industry that keeps selling when others are closing down.

Let us deal with the defensive strategies first. There are six strategies that you need to implement. These are:
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